YA age range 13+
paranormal, romance, apocalyptic
They'd become fast friends who played together, shared countless secrets, pulled numerous pranks. And now, they'd survived together, when others hadn't.
"I can't believe there's a horse near here. I can't wait to see it again." Taryn grasped his shoulder and squeezed. "This is so unbelievable." She bounced on the bed next to him.
"You and those high maintenance hay burners." He threw his hands in the air and gave her a pointed look. "You can't have a horse, Taryn. Where do you plan keep it, anyhow? People in the compound would serve it up for dinner. Peter would be first in line with his knife and fork."
Taryn cringed at Flyn's words. Peter, the current leader inside the sanctuary, was also her arch enemy Vanessa's father. "Hey now, I can't help it." A pressure built in her chest as her lips formed a pout. His grim words threatened to take the wind out of her sails.
"The stallion is beautiful, powerful. Free..." She stared off in the distance. "Maybe that's why it calls to me. It represents what we don't have and haven't experienced in a very long time." Her emotions betrayed her and a tear escaped down her cheek before her fingers could erase it. It seemed a lifetime ago she'd even seen one of her beloved equines.
"Hey now, don't cry." Flyn gathered her into his arms. Her head rested beneath his chin. His scent was familiar and calming to her senses.
She pondered how he'd changed this past year they'd lived inside the refuge. He's grown into a man. The smattering of facial hair across his jawline proved it. A very handsome man at that. She sighed. He'd be seventeen this year.
"You know I hate to cry. It's a useless waste of energy."
"But it makes you feel better," Flyn said, brushing his finger across her cheek, wiping away the evidence.
"Do you remember the things we used to dream about doing? I'd have my license and could work now. Be able to save money for college. I sometimes wonder if I'll ever be able to go to school and become a veterinarian. I hate this life...fearing if the only thing I have to hope for is to dodge zombies in order to make it through another day." Taryn quieted. The bleak outlook she'd spoken of darkened her mood. If I can catch this horse, life will be more tolerable.
"Don't feel bad. I have the same worries. In my mind, I try to come up with ways to make our current situation better. There must be a way to get through this, find our families, and feel safe again." Flyn looked her in the eye.
"I hope you're right," she said.
Right now, they endured and existed. Food, health, and a ray of sunshine. They considered the simple things in life precious gifts to hold tight to their hearts.
"From now on, when we leave the compound, I'm not letting you out of my sight. Understood? It'll be over my dead body one of those zombies gets a chance to infect you." He pulled her from his chest and clutched her upper arms. Tension radiated through his fingertips and zinged across her skin.
"You know I'm able to take care of myself. I've learned how to stay alive. I don't need you babysitting me every second of the day." Her words sounded strong and sure to her own ears. Too bad little nags of doubt crowded her mind. She brushed them away. If I want to capture this horse, I need to be strong.
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